Could it really be 20 years since drivers were as small as 300cc instead of today’s 460cc behemoths? TaylorMade has chosen the two-decade anniversary of its 300 series drivers to introduce the 300 Mini Driver, the company’s latest offering of a club that fits somewhere between a driver and a traditional 3-wood.
The 300 drivers that were launched in 2000 were bigger and bouncier than their predecessors and groundbreaking with their construction of titanium instead of steel. Although the Mini Driver is 307cc, it’s a grown-up model that takes advantage of the latest technology like multi-material construction, a low center of gravity (CG) for higher launch and a higher moment of inertia (MOI) for forgiveness on off-center hits. Plus, it features a slot in the sole near the face that the company says will produce higher ball speed.
So, who is this Mini made for? Ostensibly, it was designed for players who want less than a driver for finding fairways and more than a 3-wood for better distance off the tee and off the deck. The 300 Mini comes in lofts of 11.5 and 13.5 degrees and a shaft length of 43.75 inches, which places its specifications right between your two longest clubs.
Phil Mickelson was sold. He used a TaylorMade Original One mini driver — which was introduced in 2019 — in May when he won the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. And he put a 300 Mini in the bag for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Mickelson referred to it as a “2-wood.”
TaylorMade gave this concept a try in 2014 with the SLDR Mini Driver, a 260cc offering that was supposed to fit into the spot now the company hopes will be filled by the 300 Mini. But like the SLDR driver, that Mini was built with the CG closer to the face, making it harder to hit unless you got one with more loft than you thought you needed. (Remember the “Loft Up” campaign with the driver?) Which is why neither the SLDR nor the Mini lasted much past their first iteration. The AeroBurner Mini came and went about a year later.
Company engineers are either stubborn or think they have finally found the answer — or both — in the 300 Mini. In addition to the construction of the head, the Mini has a 12-way adjustable hosel — like the full-size drivers and fairways in the TaylorMade line — that can move the loft up or down by 2 degrees.
It also has the company’s Twist Face technology that is essentially a new take on bulge and roll in metalwoods that the company developed about three years ago, which helps correct hits in the toe and heel. And the company says it has improved the V-sole for better interaction when hitting the Mini off the fairway.
So, it depends on your priorities. Do you want a club that flies shorter than your driver with the accuracy of your 3-wood that has more distance than your 3-wood? TaylorMade believes it has your answer.